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N29bn ‘fraud’: I have no case to answer, Nyako tells court

N29bn ‘fraud’: I have no case to answer, Nyako tells court
March 11
18:15 2020

Murtala Nyako, a former governor of Adamawa state, has asked a federal high court in Abuja to strike out the N29 billion money laundering case filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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At the court on Wednesday, Nyako and some other defendants in a no-case submission told the judge that “no case has been made out by the prosecution warranting an answer from them.”

Nyako and eight others, including Abdulaziz, his son, are standing trial on a 37-count charge of money laundering, allegedly perpetrated while he was still governor.

Others standing trial are Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd, Pagado Fortunes Ltd,  Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd.

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The EFCC closed its case on January 16, 2020, after calling 21 witnesses.

In the application filed, the defendants argued that the facts adduced by all the witnesses called by the prosecution do not prove their allegation against his clients.

“The charges are in themselves incompetent and irredeemably bad thereby rendering the entire trial a nullity,” the defendants said.

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“The allegations made against these companies and individuals constitute elements of the offences charged. In order to succeed in all the counts, these elements must be proved. These elements cannot be proven behind the back of the companies and individuals against whom the allegations were made, having not been charged.

“Even if these companies and individuals were called as witnesses, that would not have been sufficient but none of them except Mary P was called.

“The failure to charge these companies and individuals against whom allegations were made in these counts constitute a failure of the prosecution to prove essential elements of the counts.

“Under sections 302 and 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, the failure to prove an essential element of the offence charged is a ground for upholding a submission that the prosecution has not made out a case warranting an answer from the defendants.”

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Reacting, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, EFCC counsel, said he needed time to study the no-case submission filed by the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants’ and respond comprehensively.

He prayed the court to give him seven days within which to file his responses.

Okon Abang, the judge, adjourned the matter till March 25 for parties to adopt their written addresses on the application.

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